Bersih Rally version 2.0 : 9 July, 2011
a personal account on the events that took place on the day.
I personally do not believe in electoral reforms, nor do I believe that a representative socio political (and economic) entity such as a hierarchical state government can resolve or even understand and accommodate every human beings’ need, want, potential, aspiration, and way of living. It’s mere form and existence is the epitome of oppression, hindrance and destruction (to human possibility). However, my personal believe in the anti-statist position in this particular subject matter will be forwarded on some other circumstances/ occasion.
I “support” the Bersih campaign not because of it’s core values, principles of reform, a change in the electoral system and so on. I supported the people who believed in the cause – who believed that it is important to express dissent, that it is a valid human expression and they ought to express so (especially under the awakening from pre-mediated human condition)- who may not completely agree with Bersih’s ideology but realise the need for solidarity, to take a stand in times of corruption, deceit and oppression. I was more keen in supporting the “spirit” – over the politics, the ideology, the paradigm of progress; of “democracy” I fundamentally disagree with. In some sense, this is the reconciliation of my oppression and the surrounding realities I am bound to.
A few friends and I finally decided on the time and mode of transport to town (KL) this morning, we left this satellite town (PJ) half an hour before noon. Commotion was building silently as the train stopped closer and closer to the “destination”. There was no “real” destination, no predefined locations – its symbolic eminence is merely an utterance of convivial rapture. It was a continuous string of pit stops. When we reached the central train station (KL Sentral), I begun to witness repression of the authority; stoping, questioning and detaining any individual who appeared suspicious or anyone on the “profile”. It was a glimpse power vituperation and exploit – we needed to slip pass them to avoid any unnecessary attention and unmeditated arrest.
Our first pit stop eventually resulted in the ingestion of will-enabled sustenance, it’s spherical attributes with the wholesomeness of slow combusting phlogiston are essential to our destined distant, our march in the discourse of power redistribution. The chapatti was also accompanied with regenerative chick pea curry, important in rebuilding the fabric that constitute our psyche-physical form – for another day of war (class war). As closure, puffs of toxins to ensure existence is shortened in this overbearing and dreadful reality.
Ten to two, it was about time. The moment to find the meaning of this discourse I support partially. With a gathered number, a considerable number, we journeyed on to another destination – another threshold. The streets were silent. and only our footsteps and our hearts beating heard, marching and anticipating something potentially liberating. As we converged closer, we converged with gained number, with people marching for their own reason(s) and desire(s). The march eventually manifested in a school of salmon swimming against the river’s current; thousands and thousands more demanding to be heard!
Subjugation was well alive and prepared. It is ready to take on anyone that defies the structures of dominance, exploitation and deceit. Information on police use of forceful and illegitimate arrest continues to travel through my ears. Physical barriers were strategically placed everywhere, only “allowing” a limited paths to reach the “illegal” destination, the forbidden location many sort to reach /resort. As if there were a grandeur scheme to incite the emotions and rage of the people. It was no surprise as the subsequent events leading to the Day indicates. It was clear to me that the authorities and the controlled media had a well planned propaganda and tactic. The stadium were guarded barricades of barbwires with police, informants, and the federal reserve unit (FRU) behind on standby.
It started pouring with rain when we (the people) slowly gathered in to take the bait; we were at one of the entrances to the stadium. Many were chanting “bersih”, “reformasi”, “takbir allah”, “ hidup rakyat”, waiting for a grand entrance. Behind the front line was FRU/ riot police getting ready with their batons, clear shields and tear gas guns.
However, I have also saw armoured police with something which appears to be a M16 rifles (i’m certain it was a rifle of some sort) lurking behind the main riot police unit. They (party leaders, individuals from other socio-political bloc) were still “negotiating”, hoping that the authorities would understand and allow the people in – the symbol for independence.
At some point, I believed that the police were getting ready to take action, some personal of some “status” spoke to the police and halted the riot police. So it appears, I decided to move away from the front and regroup with the people I came with. By then, the rain had stopped.
After several attempts to get in Independence, the crowd eventually gave up. Many started to head to central market, we were told some people are heading to KL Sentral, some are going to KLCC. The people were everywhere, lingering around, talking to each other, taking photograph as if it were a carnival. Suddenly the streets evolved into a lively parade, vitality were high but many were confused about the next course of action, or destination.
Moments later, a huge crowd appeared, and they started marching towards the stadium, this time they were aiming at another entrance. However, we didn’t follow them, we decided to head towards KLCC. Since most, station, transport were close we had to walk, but even walking was a difficult task, my shoes are soaked wet, the police are arresting people. we tried to be save and avoid infested areas.
It took us a while to reach our destination, by the time we arrive, it appears that many people had already dispersed, the police were still present, closing off every entrance in and out of KLCC. This is where and when we were told that the protest is “over”, we were told to disperse, it is “officially” over. It was past four in the afternoon, the time intended “end”. Time’s up, the “revolution” has ended…
Other thoughts on the aftermath
I was angered by the police’s sense of “peace and justice”, their forceful, cowardly tactics. I have learned that the government and the police denied any use of “force”, violent, or any physical coercion when there are evidence or “prove” to their actions. It was not a surprise, but the fact that I feel such incidents are “common” disturbs me deeply, the fact that many people believes, feels, thinks that such behaviours (by the police and its illegitimate non-uniform forces) are “tolerable”.
Tolerable in a sense of expectation. Perhaps it is time to rethink about the expectation, conducts and behaviours of such “law enforcement” officials, about the the kind of power the police has, assumed, the kind of abuses it has exert. If people who resides in this land (Malaysia) are unwilling to imagine the destruction, the complete deconstruction of a police institution/ structure ( a police/ fascist state), including the structures of power that kept it in place (including the sense of self-policing, moral policing and other forms “people’s policing”). Perhaps then, or at least limit the “power” the institution and individual police officers do not have in the first place. Only because they hold the apparatus of violent and intimidation and the political will that their existence continues to threaten individuals liberty, expression, to question, to bring about matters in public on the streets.
Further, I really find the fact that un-uniformed individuals who I can not be certain if they are actually police using physical forces such as kicking, punching, pushing and sometimes arresting very problematic. Not that I approve of uniformed police conducting the same actions. But it just makes me feel, and think that the police are just trying to avoid responsibility, clean up evidences against them, these “police” don’t have numbers or a name tag to identify them, and it is often hard to capture their faces in a police propagated “messy” situation. It remains me of another affiliated institution, the RELA, or a “voluntary police assistance”. equally problematic, “licensed self righteous thugs”.s
As much as I agree to question the political entity that “upholds” such institutions. I think even if there’s a change in political representation and nothing done to the police institution, the military, the federal reserve unit, and other armed forces, the structure of a fascist contingent remains, it will still be a police state.